Mark Tuttle

Guy Stephens/WNIJ

Forget “knee high by the 4th of July.” Thanks to a combination of rain and high temperatures, corn is tasseling, or silking, much earlier than usual in parts of Illinois. Some people are already eating sweet corn. Soybeans are blooming early, too.  

Mark Tuttle farms in DeKalb County. He described his land as being in something of a “sweet spot” this year. Everything – both corn and soybeans – is developing fast. He said he’s not alone.

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

It’s often challenging for rural public schools to raise money. When funds do come through, it can be a struggle spreading money among programs, personnel, and maintenance. A series of grants aims to improve STEM education at these schools.

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. These topics are emphasized increasingly in educational standards and the current jobs market. But STEM programs often require specialized equipment and training, which can get expensive.